Several surfactant molecules self-assemble in solution to form long, cylindrical, flexible wormlike micelles. These micelles can be entangled with each other leading to viscoelastic phases. The rheological properties of such phases are very interesting and have been the subject of a large number of experimental and theoretical studies in recent years. We shall report our recent work on the macrorheology, microrheology and nonlinear flow behaviour of dilute aqueous solutions of a surfactant CTAT (Cetyltrimethylammonium Tosilate). This system forms elongated micelles and exhibits strong viscoelasticity at low concentrations (∼0.9 wt%) without the addition of electrolytes. Microrheology measurements of G(θ) have been done using diffusing wave spectroscopy which will be compared with the conventional frequency sweep measurements done using a cone and plate rheometer. The second part of the paper deals with the nonlinear rheology where the measured shear stress σ is a nonmonotonic function of the shear rate $$\dot \gamma $$. In stress-controlled experiments, the shear stress shows a plateau for $$\dot \gamma $$ larger than some critical strain rate, similar to the earlier reports on CPyCl/NaSal system. Cates et al have proposed that the plateau is a signature of mechanical instability in the form of shear bands. We have carried out extensive experiments under controlled strain rate conditions, to study the time-dependence of shear stress. The measured time series of shear stress has been analysed in terms of correlation integral and Lyapunov exponent to show unambiguously that the behaviour is typical of low dimensional dynamical systems.
Volume 95, 2021
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